Ana Tijoux has quickly become one of the hottest names in Latin American hip hop. She was born to Chilean parents in France in 1977, who had to flee their homeland to avoid the repressive regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The family didn’t return to Chile until 1990 when democracy was restored. When they did come home, Ana was thirteen years old and didn’t fit in anywhere, especially as a female MC in a male dominated world. She started out in her group Makiza, which mixed socially conscious lyrics with production styles unheard of in Latin America, to collaborations that turned into world-wide hits with the likes of Julieta Venegas, Control Machete, and Bajofondo, to the voice of the Gorillaz-inspired, #1 children’s animated hit show Pulentos, Tijoux has always been keen to push against the commercial hip hop sounds found across the mainstream markets.
Her relaxed, flowing lyrics and jazzy production is reminiscent of old-school hip hop. She gained a lot of attention when she released her breakout record, 1977. 1977 was an autobiographical record in which she confronted her dual identity and what she calls a life of “shadow-boxing” with her parents’ tormentors. Her latest record is entitled La Bala, which is Spanish for “The Bullet.”
“The difference with this album is, this is a conversation with the world. I live in Chile, with all those student protests, and this parallel situation that is happening with Indignados in Spain, or the crisis in Greece, or Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Oakland. When I was making [the album] I was reading a lot of news and talking about the world with friends, and in the end that totally influenced my work.” – Ana Tijoux on NPR
The title track of La Bala describes the shooting of a young man, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. The sounds of political and social unrest, combined with Ana Tijoux discovery of her own Latin American heritage make this a very fresh record. Watch the video for “Sacar La Voz” featuring Jorge Drexler from La Bala below.